Separating the art from the artist

If you think the intolerance antinomy is clever, here's one that'll blow your mind: If a barber shaves all people who don't shave themselves, who shaves the barber?

Also, you're the very first person to discover fuzziness in language leading to contradictions, and NOT AT ALL a tedious git primarily interested in points-scoring/apologist for hateful douchebaggery.

Phoenix Rev wrote:

Just as an FYI, Card was on the Board of NOM from 2009 until July of this year when he quietly stepped down after making his "please be tolerant of me" quote.

It should be noted that during that time frame, the Board of NOM decided to help fund the companion lawsuit to the Prop. 8 appeal before the CA Supreme Court. That companion litigation asked the CASC to forcibly divorce/annul the marriages of all 18,000 couples that had been married before Prop. 8 took effect. In the appeal, the CASC - in a split vote - voted to uphold Prop. 8 as binding. However, they unanimously kicked the companion suit to the curb saying that all 18,000 same-sex marriages were perfectly valid and there was no legal basis to terminate those marriages.

So, you will have to forgive me, but I take it bit personal when someone wants to storm into my relationship with my husband and force us to divorce against our wills.

OSC and his "art" can go pound sand because I will never look at or purchase anything he has to offer.

Didn't NOM also support that delightful Ugandan "Kill the gays" bill, or am I confusing different liars for Jesus groups again?

But yeah, this is is really where I have to draw the line. I can consume the art of someone with hateful views, but if my consumption of it is going to give him more money and power that he will use to politically act on those views, then I'm complicit on some level, so I'd rather not.

Card might not see any money directly from my ticket, but Ender's Game being a success will land him deals for more adaptation, and raise the profile of the books.

Alien Love Gardener wrote:

Didn't NOM also support that delightful Ugandan "Kill the gays" bill, or am I confusing different liars for Jesus groups again?

Different liars for Jesus groups.

The Ugandan bill was created by Scott Lively, founder and president of Abiding Truth Ministries. ATM basically blames gays for everything bad in society, from divorce to child abuse.

Lively had help from Don Schmierer, a board member for the "pray away the gay" group Exodus International. Exodus had the decency to admit it was really a liar for Jesus, apologized to the gay community for what it had done, and ceased operations in June 2013.

Alien Love Gardener wrote:

Also, you're the very first person to discover fuzziness in language leading to contradictions, and NOT AT ALL a tedious git primarily interested in points-scoring/apologist for hateful douchebaggery.

Are you directing your insults at me or someone else? Either way, why do you not possess the skills to write arguments without insults?

Alien Love Gardener wrote:

Card might not see any money directly from my ticket, but Ender's Game being a success will land him deals for more adaptation, and raise the profile of the books.

Yeah there was a meme floating around the facebox this weekend trumpeting that Card would receive all of zero dollars from the movies, and this was my thought, too. Success and influence aren't just counted in the content of your bank account, though that's a pretty good measure.

As for the Ugandan bill, I think most of the NOM backing for it was something that couldn't be proven directly but was pretty much there through partnerships and personal/professional connections.

cheeba wrote:
Alien Love Gardener wrote:

Also, you're the very first person to discover fuzziness in language leading to contradictions, and NOT AT ALL a tedious git primarily interested in points-scoring/apologist for hateful douchebaggery.

Are you directing your insults at me or someone else? Either way, why do you not possess the skills to write arguments without insults?

I possess the skill, I just find that particular argument inane if presented in earnest, and usually it's made in bad faith to deflect criticism of awful behavior, like Card did.

It's basically another version of Russell's paradox, and maybe interesting as an illustration of the limitations of language, and how difficult it can be to communicate ideas concisely and precisely, but it's got precisely nothing to say about moral behaviour, and engaging with it is mostly a giant waste of time.

I've read the whole thread, but I think I will stick to addressing the OP/first page-ish or so for now.

Orson Scott Card has been brought up, so I guess I will begin there. I read Ender's Game for the first time as an adult. I loved it. I had no knowledge of Card's stance on gays when I read it, or even for some time after as I did absolutely zero research on him as an author. I read the book, I enjoyed the hell out of it and then read it again.

Now that I do know about his homophobia and support of causes that are against gay people, I still can't seem to make the full connection that Ender's Game is now tainted with Card's personal (and to me, reprehensible) opinions. I won't be standing in line to meet the guy, nor do I support his beliefs - but for me, the book, the character of Ender (whom I got rather attached to as I read his story) stands on his own without Card. Card created him, and I have no idea how much, if any, of his homophobia is in the creation of Ender, but I saw Ender the character as someone I really felt for, someone I empathized with - and in my own head that was completely divorced from his creator. I think that's what a good writer (or director/artist etc.) does when they do their creative thing well - they create something new that no longer needs them in order to have meaning and a life that is apart from them.

I admit that I would be terribly conflicted to discover that money made from Ender's Game (book or film) was/is being funnelled back into intolerant organizations - I think Ender himself would take issue with that (at least, Ender as he exists in my head would). But having already enjoyed the book, does that mean I've already supported intolerant thinking and am therefore guilty of the same? I have no idea. I hope not.

I suppose, too, that this will be something to consider as I write my own stories. I very likely have opinions on things that would deeply offend others. For instance, I am an atheist - and while I don't consciously write atheist rhetoric into my stories, and while I'm not trumpeting the fact all over the place (except, you know, in a public gaming forum...oh dear...), maybe it's there anyway and I simply can't see it. Maybe there are people in this very thread who would be/are offended by my lack of religious beliefs that will refuse, on principle, to read anything I ever write, whether or not I make money from it, because my opinions/beliefs/lack thereof offend them. And if that's the case, I'm OK with that. And not out of any desire to be snotty, or thumb my nose at someone, or have a "those people" attitude, but because if someone cannot divorce me as a person, my opinions or beliefs, from the work I put into the world, esp. where those opinions and beliefs are offensive to them, then the work is tainted anyway, and they won't enjoy it. I'd much rather see them happy reading something else. Reading is supposed to be enjoyable after all! If I made movies, I'd want people to watch movies that they could enjoy (even if they weren't mine for whatever reasons - my movie is awful all on its own, the movie-watcher thinks I'm a terrible human being, they want to watch it, but theatres are too expensive and they'll download it later etc.)

I am starting to not make sense to myself, so I'll shut up now, and perhaps come back to this when I've come down a bit from the hi ball energy drink I just had.

TL:DR - I try to judge a work on its own merits as much as I can, but given that I'm a human being and emotion and personal opinion do often muddy the waters a bit, I have varying amounts of success.

In my view, it's not about "judging the work on its merits", it's about whether the producer of this work is worth my dollars, or other intangible currencies (notoriety and publicity resulting out of box ofice takings, influence and clout in negotiating future, for-pay gigs etc). How is "art" different from anything else from that regard.

Assume you're hiring a painting contractor to paint your house. You simply wouldn't want to give your money to a guy who holds reprehensible views and who will, as you suspect, use parts of the profits from your contract to further his views. Why is it different from an artist?! We assume that the contractor's racist views somehow "don't seep into his work", and the house looks nice... Big deal. Why should we hold Card to a different standard? His bigoted views somehow "don't seep into" the story he managed to create? Big deal too. Good for him that he can write a book, tie his shoes, or make a sandwich without making his bigoted views all hang out. He is still not worth my money or notoriety.

Mimble wrote:

TL:DR - I try to judge a work on its own merits as much as I can, but given that I'm a human being and emotion and personal opinion do often muddy the waters a bit, I have varying amounts of success.

I don't really agree that wondering where your money will go once it's out of your hands is "muddying the waters". I know that's not the full thrust of what you were saying, but I just wanted to point that out. As stated in the previous thread, the idea that people should feel obligated to hand their money to someone only based on a certain set of principles and no others is not reasonable.

Bloo Driver wrote:
Mimble wrote:

TL:DR - I try to judge a work on its own merits as much as I can, but given that I'm a human being and emotion and personal opinion do often muddy the waters a bit, I have varying amounts of success.

I don't really agree that wondering where your money will go once it's out of your hands is "muddying the waters". I know that's not the full thrust of what you were saying, but I just wanted to point that out. As stated in the previous thread, the idea that people should feel obligated to hand their money to someone only based on a certain set of principles and no others is not reasonable.

Agreed. Validating the quality of the work in question doesn't even enter into my calculus. I have read Ender's Game when I was a kid - it's a classic sci-fi book for a reason; it's well-written, has a cool twist, and it speaks to the brainy, estranged-feeling kids who tend to read sci-fi at that age. I haven't played Shadow Complex, but I am 99% sure, as someone who adores Metroidvania-style games, I would *really* like it. Giant Bomb tells me this, GWJ tells me this, I am sure if I played it, I would like it.

But the thing is, the works already exist. My paying money to consume that media doesn't do anything for the welfare of the work itself. It will continue to exist, and I don't owe it anything. The creator(s), on the other hand, is the one who gets the money I spend consuming it. (Arguments about residuals or percentages aside,) I don't want to give my money to OSC or Chair Entertainment. I'm not withholding my approval of the work, I'm withholding my payment to the creator because I don't want to support the platform that makes their opinions on gay marriage relevant.

Hmm, these are excellent points - and it makes me see that I a) have more thinking to do and, b) need to write far more clearly than I did earlier.

The house-painting analogy really makes me think because you're right, if I knew the person painting my house was a racist/homophobic jerk, I wouldn't hire him. So, I suppose I shouldn't hold Card to a different standard given that he IS that jerk.

Still, what do you do when you've already enjoyed the work in question before you knew the creator was a jerk? I'm honestly asking: do you have to back-pedal and decide you dislike the work now because of the awful opinions of the creator (I'll never read Ender's Game again!") - or can you like the work because that ship has sailed, but then never enjoy/consume anything by them in the future (I already own it and liked it, so I'll keep it and reread it - but no more Card, or Card-related purchases, from here on out.)?

If nothing else, I suppose the rampant consumer culture we live in means consuming very selectively and doing a lot of research to see if the company involved support things you find reprehensible.

Thanks for the response here, it is making me think harder about this, and think more about how to articulate my thoughts.

I always find it difficult to articulate too, so I'm glad the chance exists to explain myself. =)

I am not really fussed about the fact that I used to like things that have values encoded into them or are made by people who I don't agree with. If anything, I'm happy that my thinking evolved (from my point of view, obviously) and that I know better now. I don't like the idea that having once liked something somehow implicates you as not being a true believer. So in that context, the only real option for you is to do what lets you sleep at night. In my case, that's to not buy anything with OSC's name on it. If asked about Ender's Game, I'd probably say what I said above: "It's a cool book, but f*ck OSC."

I think you hit on an interesting point around consumer culture though. Specifically, the idea that our most defining characteristic is what we drink/watch/play/listen to. I find this is especially rampant in "geek" culture. I kinda think this is why conversations like this often go so wrong: people identify so strongly with something they like that an attack on it seems like an attack on them. [size=2]I call that getting tricked by a business.[/size]

My feeling is that supporting further work from the artist, including derived works, helps create a platform for them, even if they aren't directly benefiting financially from that support.

I don't stop liking the work of someone I find reprehensible, but it does distract from my enjoyment of that work, which makes me sad (and less likely to revisit it). I also feel like I have to give a disclaimer about the creator if I share that work with anyone, which makes it less likely that I'll share it (although it does happen).

I don't believe that people who continue to love the artist's work and share that work with their friends are bad people. I do encourage them to be aware of the artist's actions and to make other people aware of them, as a way of counteracting the "creating a platform" problem.

I don't particularly feel bad about the fact that doing this may lead them to enjoy that work less, as it has for me. I place the blame for that on the creator's choices. I'd much rather be aware and be less happy with something I used to love than not be aware and unknowingly support that sort of behavior.

Edit to note:

Also, a lot of this depends on how much the creator uses their resources and visibility to actively push the reprehensible ideas. I would not be surprised if Brandon Sanderson had some problematic views about gay marriage, for example. (Note: It appears that he has had, but his ideas have changed somewhat over time.) But if someone isn't bankrolling major legislative efforts and if I have to actively hunt to find their writings on the subject, I'm not going to be as upset as with someone who's saying things publicly and loudly and who is actively spending resources for things I disapprove of.

So there's a bit of a sliding scale: How well known is the person? How well known are their reprehensible ideas? How much do they actively support application of their reprehensible ideas? As these things increase, my ability to enjoy their work decreases, and when it gets large enough I start to feel the need to make my displeasure public.

I guess the issue, to me, is that at some level, almost everything I purchase is going to bankroll into something I don't like somewhere. Labor concerns with technology purchases, for instance.

And, as noted by the book I, Lucifer, thanks to the invention of multinational conglomerate corporations, there's a good likelihood that by purchasing almost anything, money is going to someone who likely sells something I find distasteful in some way. I would have loved to purchase some of the Stark Industries stuff for improving technology around my home as Tony described it in Iron Man 1... but then I would have been giving money to a company that was also making serious money on arms and ammunition.

So, for most things, I just try to avoid thinking about it, because, as noted by others, I would have to go through a level of research that would make purchasing almost anything nearly impossible for me due to time constraints.

Demos: That's just an apologism for the purchasing decisions you have already made.

Yeah, it is hard to track every purchase, and the fact that it is easy to throw your hands up say "I can't research everything, and sooner or later my money is going to something I personally find abhorrent inevitably" is really unfortunate. However, I don't think that this means we shouldn't try - to the best of our ability - to purchase smartly and morally.

I know most corporations are problematic, but I also know that some are worse than others. If Chik-Filet is going to go ahead and be obviously pursuing a terrible agenda, then I'll get my lunch somewhere else. Same thing with Barrilla pasta. Its one thing to actively and publicly advocate for an awful set of beliefs, and its another to actually harbor them but have the good sense to not act on them. It doesn't excuse having the belief, but at least you're doing less damage.

I'll refuse to give my money to Card because not only is he a terrible person, but he's also foolish enough to put it out there. It is now part of his "brand".

This is also something that makes pursuing systemic political changes incredibly important. It isn't impossible to imagine that getting the information about any brand relatively quickly and easily won't become a thing of the future. Picture being in a store with a Google Glass (yeah yeah, another corp, stick with me though) type of thing that allows you to enter a set of preferences in. Anything you look at, you can see to what extent it might ideologically clash with you. Heck, even having filters set up for online purchases... I suspect that if these types of things became more apparent, it would curtail some corporations from making overt donations to political causes steeped in bigotry or hate.

Its certainly a terrible situation we're in, but it isn't an impossible one, and trying to consume art / make purchases with a conscience and not succeeding is better than just giving up and turning a blind eye IMO.

Mimble wrote:

I suppose, too, that this will be something to consider as I write my own stories. I very likely have opinions on things that would deeply offend others. For instance, I am an atheist - and while I don't consciously write atheist rhetoric into my stories, and while I'm not trumpeting the fact all over the place (except, you know, in a public gaming forum...oh dear...), maybe it's there anyway and I simply can't see it.

As a writer/editor for a newspaper, this really speaks to me. I'm in a pretty conservative, old-fashioned, religious community and I have to be careful with my editorials and spouting off or it could literally cost me (and others) money. I can't speak out against religion like I would like to, else I'd lose advertisers and subscribers. I guess that's why I'm such an advocate of free speech, heh.

TheHarpoMarxist wrote:

It isn't impossible to imagine that getting the information about any brand relatively quickly and easily won't become a thing of the future. Picture being in a store with a Google Glass (yeah yeah, another corp, stick with me though) type of thing that allows you to enter a set of preferences in. Anything you look at, you can see to what extent it might ideologically clash with you.

There's already apps for that ;). I believe there's an app where you can scan a bar code and see if the item supports Monsanto (or GMO's in particular?) or not.

cheeba wrote:
Mimble wrote:

I suppose, too, that this will be something to consider as I write my own stories. I very likely have opinions on things that would deeply offend others. For instance, I am an atheist - and while I don't consciously write atheist rhetoric into my stories, and while I'm not trumpeting the fact all over the place (except, you know, in a public gaming forum...oh dear...), maybe it's there anyway and I simply can't see it.

As a writer/editor for a newspaper, this really speaks to me. I'm in a pretty conservative, old-fashioned, religious community and I have to be careful with my editorials and spouting off or it could literally cost me (and others) money. I can't speak out against religion like I would like to, else I'd lose advertisers and subscribers. I guess that's why I'm such an advocate of free speech, heh.

And that's the balancing factor. Freedom of speech is great, but you have a choice. When people like Card or Jenny McCarthy or the Dixie Chicks or whomever get shunned for going on publicly about what they believe, they had the option to shut up and sing. They chose not to take it, which is a reasonable and valid choice. But there are repercussions. In Card's case, I find his views abhorrent, but I find his reaction to the backlash pathetic. "Oh why is everyone picking on me please come see my movies, I didn't know my going on like this would affect my work! So unfair!" Either stick to your guns or don't start. As I've noted before, I think there's value in deciding to make these statements, even if I don't agree with them. But it's exceptionally cowardly for you (in the general sense, not you specifically) to want to have your cake and to eat it, too.

That's actually a really great point I hadn't considered, Bloo. Card's reaction to the backlash has been the ultimate in cowardice and double dealing. Hell even Sarah freaking Palin had the backbone to stick to her crazy beliefs.

I was talking to someone and mentioned that. Their response was, "Maybe Card believes his work is just bigger than his beliefs. It's way more noble for him, after what's happened, to decide to shelf what he thinks to get more people to see the work!"

I wanted to drop a safe on them.

Thank you, Bloo. His cowardice about owning his beliefs almost makes it worse. That's had so overtly push his terrible political agenda and then try to separate his work from himself to make more money. Ugh.

This is why Pussy Riot > Card.

I'm also supremely bothered by people who confuse "free speech" with "I can say whatever I want and nobody can criticize me in any way, shape or form!"

aspect wrote:

I always find it difficult to articulate too, so I'm glad the chance exists to explain myself. =)

I am not really fussed about the fact that I used to like things that have values encoded into them or are made by people who I don't agree with. If anything, I'm happy that my thinking evolved (from my point of view, obviously) and that I know better now. I don't like the idea that having once liked something somehow implicates you as not being a true believer. So in that context, the only real option for you is to do what lets you sleep at night. In my case, that's to not buy anything with OSC's name on it. If asked about Ender's Game, I'd probably say what I said above: "It's a cool book, but f*ck OSC."

I think you hit on an interesting point around consumer culture though. Specifically, the idea that our most defining characteristic is what we drink/watch/play/listen to. I find this is especially rampant in "geek" culture. I kinda think this is why conversations like this often go so wrong: people identify so strongly with something they like that an attack on it seems like an attack on them. [size=2]I call that getting tricked by a business.[/size]

Now that I do know about OSC's intolerance, I will not knowingly support his work or, as Hyp mentioned in her post, provide a platform for his "brand". I'll likely take the line that you have, aspect, : "It's a cool book, but f*ck OSC." Because it IS a cool book but seriously, f*ck that guy.

cheeba, it must be hard to have to step so lightly around issues that might, if discussed or written about rationally, provide new insights and ways of thinking/living/being. I'm not sure I'd be very good at that if I were writing for a newspaper (even if, ideally, newspapers just report the news without slanting it toward any particular set of beliefs - I have opinions, dammit! ).

I'm seriously liking this topic though, it's really making me look at things I buy in general, but particularly books and the like as that's where a lot of my money ends up.